NOLA Catholic bloggers go digital

The new NOLA Catholic Experience blog probably won’t initially garner the 54 million visits that the Huffington Post blog receives monthly, but the 10 voices on the blog are a welcomed one in a town that is historically Catholic.

Launched Oct. 5, NOLA Catholic Experience offers the views and experiences of 10 authors from different walks of life and experiences.

Here’s the blogging lineup:

Ansel Augustine, who is involved with youth as associate director and coordinator of Black Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the archdiocese’s CYO Office and a regular contributor to BustedHalo.com;
 Angie Thomas, director of the Woman’s New Life Center, which helps women choose life in difficult or unexpected pregnancies;

 Brandon Briscoe, an attorney who is an acolyte, lector and tour guide at St. Louis Cathedral;

 Dana Doyle, a mom, teacher and religion coordinator who writes the “Catholic Working Mom” blog;

 Marianite Sister Judy Gomila, who has 50 years of experience in evangelization, ecclesiology and mission work;

 Nick Albares, parish social ministry coordinator for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans;

 Father Kurt Young, a newly ordained priest who is a parochial vicar at St. Philip Neri Church in Metairie;

Father James Wehner, Notre Dame Seminary’s new rector/president;
Jason Angelette and his wife Elise of the Willwoods Community, offering a young married couple’s perspective.

“We wanted to get a cross section of people at different places in their lives who participate in ministry or another aspect of life in different ways,” said Sarah Comiskey McDonald, director of the Office of Communications for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. “We wanted different ages and perspectives in life to broaden the message and to meet people where they are.”

The idea for the blog materialized in discussions that McDonald had with Archbishop Gregory Aymond on how the archdiocese could be active in all media, so as to invite people from various walks of life into discourse about the Catholic faith.

It’s been a successful venture, so far. Within an hour of the first blog post, McDonald said several comments were received. About 20 hits a day have been made to the site since October.

“We’re getting a lot of likes and traffic on the site, and we see it being shared on Facebook by other people,” McDonald said. “We’re very pleased. The quality of writing is very friendly and inviting, but it also has the Catholic perspective from each author’s own perspective and voice. That was very important to us.”

Authors are free to select the topic about which they write, and comments are always welcomed.

Early posts have included how Doyle is currently enjoying her children and putting other aspects of life aside because she knows that “God places us where he wants us, when he wants us there.” Father Wehner, who moved to New Orleans this summer after serving as rector of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, expressed how he sees the new evangelization alive in New Orleans by writing that “faith is the indispensable heartbeat.”

Sister Judy concludes how the “Door of Faith” is always open to Christ’s followers. Augustine realizes that he is in the world but not of the world, and he hopes other Catholics feel that way too.

New blogs are posted on Wednesdays and Fridays, and subject matter is searchable by key words.

“The Holy Father is encouraging us as ministers to be present to people in the new media,” McDonald said. “Proclaiming the Gospel in social media is another way in addition to our Facebook page and Twitter handle.”

To read the blogs on NOLA Catholic Experience, go to nolacatholicexperience. wordpress.com/.

Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarionherald.org.

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